Beginner.

Stay Open. Photo by Daniel Rönnback.
Stay Open. Photo by Daniel Rönnback. 2014, Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France.

One of the things I love about yogasana practice is what mister Iyengar clearly says: “I know the postures from yesterday but today I become a beginner.”

This is a huge challenge.

I like to think that what happens on my yoga mat is a reflex of the things that are happening outside of it. I feel it on the good things and also when a challenge appears.

The challenge of feeling like a beginner is important for me.

What I´ve learn through my yogasana practice is that, everyday I am dealing with a new version of myself. Everything changes constantly and if I forget about it, stagnates my practice immediately.

I love those days when I feel clean, fresh and new not only after the practice but before.

Those days when I am open to the adventure that I can see ahead of me and when, even though I know how to begin, I never know how it will end.

I love when I feel like I am open to find new ways to approach to the “problems” that the practice puts in front of me and that, instead of taking the regular way, I allow my self to experiment and create new points of view. I love when I feel creative. Makes me feel that I am growing.

One of the goals of the yoga practice is to go beyond our egos and, even though I am crushing with my ego constantly, I like to think that, when I feel inspire and creative I am going further in my experience of myself re defining my own limits because, rather than undergo regular mental processes -that do nothing but to strengthen the ego- I can find a new way of dealing with myself, my “problems” and my experience.

It´s beautiful because keeps me humble in front of the beauty and it´s not only my mind that opens, it is my body and my heart also.

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The Fool.

I feel like I´m new in everything nowadays: A beginner in life or something like that. It´s a pretty honest feeling and sometimes it´s like: “THIS IS AWESOME!!!” but sometimes it´s like “But, come on Ale, I thought you learnt something from the past!!!”

The other day we went to Vågakallen.

It is the biggest mountain around Henningsvaer and after a long walk; you can climb to the summit.

The route we did it wasn´t a difficult climb at all, perfect for me: a super beginner.

When I go with Andreas somewhere in the mountains I always feel like a child, learning from someone who knows A LOT about what he´s talking about.

At the same time, pressure and fear, make my learning process a little slower than I´m used to so I deal with a completely new picture of myself.

Nevertheless, that day we went out and I was thinking all the time: Don´t take this personal, trust yourself, do your best, enjoy.  Like a mantra. Once and again. Breathing consciously (as pranayama taught me), walking as fast as I could and following Andreas´ advices.

Until we came to this place:

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Probably between those rocks there is around 1, 1 ½ meters distance. It´s not that much if you think about it.  Andreas went there and jumped like nothing. Without thinking, just like if jumping over 40 or more meters high it´s a normal thing.

And I was like:

No way.

I can´t.

What happens if I fall?

I´m definitely not going to do this.

Andreas was there, waiting for me on the other side, while I was dealing with myself divided between the fear of jumping, the fear of falling and the fear of being trapped for hours on that rock.

Andreas was VERY nice.

He was there trying to communicate me that it wasn´t that dangerous and that I needed to trust my feet and legs.

In my mind, all the time: No way, I can´t.

Andreas took some precautions while I was there thinking and thinking, saying: Ale, you can do this… One, two… NO I CAN´T!

We were there around 15 minutes, (Andreas says it was between 30 minutes and one hour but, for me time flew faster than ever!!!) Anyway, dealing with yourself and your fears it´s not that easy and, in other conditions, definitely, takes more than 30 minutes.

Until I jumped.

And –since I´m writing this- I survived.

That experience was, by far, one of the most important moments in my life: Taking the chance of doing something even though your mind it´s telling you that there is no way you can do it.

Sometimes in yoga it´s like that.  At the beginning it can be the opposite: your mind saying “Of course I can do that, it seems simple”, but then your body don´t answer. After a few years of practice, when you have to do something new, your mind is more like: No way… Until your body achieves it (and your mind, suddenly, silent.)

On the other side of the jump there was Andreas and I realized why I love him so much.  Also I realized how good he is in what he does. And how much I trust him.

I did the jump, yes, but he was there for me.

My brother made me realize how familiar this experience was with the “first” tarot card: The Fool.

In the regular representation of this card we can see a man standing at the edge of something that looks like a mountain with, probably, an abyss in front of him. But he doesn´t seems to be bothered by that.  Innocent and trusting in the universe, in his dog, in his feet or whatever you want, it seems that he will continue walking no matter what.

Actually, the fool is one of the “unnumbered” cards of the deck.

The fool represents the beginning of an important journey.

Maybe feeling like a beginner it´s not that bad after all. Its the fool a fool after all?

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The journey.

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This journey through the layers of the Self is really beautiful because, sometimes, you understand that the answers for your questions are, all of them, not far away but closer than you thought.

Usually they are so close and that´s why it´s not easy to see them so, you need to take the long way, turn around starting once and again, traveling all over the world. Searching for the flower that was, always, in your backyard.

Transform yourself and eliminate the bullshit :)

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Finding yoga was, for me, the beginning of a transformation that continues until today. Even though I was pretty young, since the first moment I knew I found something significant. At the same time, I knew it needed time, practice and patience to grow up. But the seed was already in my heart.

In a slow rhythm, my practice was something that had this “in crescendo” process. Every day was longer, deeper or more intense.

I don´t know when it happened that the practice started to be a moment of deep connection with myself. I mean it´s not the same type of connection you get during a yoga class or after savasana… It´s something that goes beyond that and that now, after 11 years of practice I can see like a continuous “observing myself transforming” mode.

Observing myself made me feel bad sensations sometimes: I´m not a super self confident kind of person, I have a lot of problems finding the limit between “following the flow” and “going for it” type of attitude, I sometimes just don´t know what I want.

In the other hand, in that observation I, somehow, learnt how to accept myself without many judgments, being aware of my reactions and changes, knowing that them were there teaching me much more about myself than any verbal explanation.

The other day I saw a movie called Riding giants. The movie it´s about big/giant waves surfer and the evolution of the sport since mid ’50s until now.

The movie is about a passion that goes beyond words, a passion for doing something that not just makes you happy but gives meaning to the fact of being alive (or dead).

It´s not rational at all. It´s something that it´s there in your guts or not.

Sometimes something happens in life: Maybe you had an accident, lost your job or someone you loved. Maybe you found a new practice or routine that makes you feel better. Sometimes there´s a breaking point that makes your life upside down and it´s not easy to discover that this is an opportunity to transform yourself. Sometimes its something dramatic, sometimes it comes in waves.

In the movie, Mark Renneker (who is a surfer and a doctor working with cancer patients), said something that touched my heart.

He said: “One of the things I love a about my work as a physician (…) is to see what often takes place which is transformation, they just begin to sort of eliminate the bullshit and they begin to actually live, almost for the first time. Those kinds of life changing events can come from illness, they can come from revelation, they can come for me, in a way, from big wave surfing.”

Eliminating the bullshit is the only way we have to make ourselves lighter. And I think it´s easy to realize that it´s full of bullshit everywhere but most of it, it´s in our heads. Distrust, taboos, the fear of change, our own mental square structures and all the things that are there, stopping us from doing what we want to do.

We can do it in the way we want, Dr. Rekenner found surf, I found yoga but I´m finding new things every day: The sunlight trough my window or the smile of a kid, the moving tail of a dog, the sound of my favorite song or being able to touch the skin of the people I love… I use all of those things as everyday reminders.

You have to have something inside if you want to start to empty yourself. And yes, even though we think there´s nothing, there is always something. No-thing it is Some-thing.

I don´t know what´s the meaning of life. I don´t even know if it has any sense being standing on two legs in this planet moving in the corner of the galaxy but there´s one thing that feels real for me and that it´s this voice in my head telling me: Don´t be afraid, remove the bullshit, make the package lighter and try to find the answers for the questions that you have in your heart.

All the rest will come.

Mens sana in corpore sano (part II)

During the last months I have been meeting a lot of people that doesn´t practice yoga at all and, many of them are athletes or have a strong passion for climbing, running or skiing. Meeting them have been really inspiring for me because I have seen that behind the physical discipline that any sport requires, we can find a lot of really interesting points of view about life, mind and existence.

I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago and today, thanks to elephant journal, I found this video where Sakyong Mipham –a Buddhist lama and marathon runner- talks about the connection between body-mind and awareness.

Maybe for some of you the connection it’s obvious. If this is the case, I encourage you to analyze what hides behind obvious, it can be interesting. All of this, at least for me, has been a really interesting discovery. J